Having a healthy living lifestyle is all about balance. But, realistically, we know sometimes mindful eating can be a challenge especially while vacationing.
I can personally relate to this as I've come back from a recent trip from Miami.
This popular vacation city is known for an array of delicious foods ranging from fresh seafood, Cuban delights and other appetizing cultural cuisines.
Part of my vacation itinerary was a food tour of "Little Havana" I especially like to do things like this to get a quick history of a city and its food culture.
My tour included stopping at a historical Cuban restaurant where I indulged in an empanada made with a beef filling of picadillo with green olives and the classic Cubano sandwich. Yum!
Also, during my tour, I discovered more history of Little Havana with multiple tastings at various venues.
I got to taste homemade churros dusted with cinnamon sugar with optional dipping sauces of "dulce de leche" (caramel sauce made with condensed milk ) or chocolate dipping sauce. A specialty ice cream made with cookie crumbles, cream cheese and finished off with a guava paste drizzle.
I got to taste a classic, refreshing and minty mojito at another interesting destination as I scrolled the place with interesting photos of Cuban culture.
The final stop of my culinary food tour was at a Cuban cigar shop which included a tasting of bold Cuban coffee for the grand finale. All I can say is the experience was totally worth it!
I mention all of the goodness of my food tour because I think sometimes people who want to live a healthy lifestyle may have the mindset they should never indulge in decadent food they don't normally eat.
But with anything for it to become a habit, a healthy lifestyle has to be doable and has to be something for the long term. So if you are eating healthy 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent of your time occasionally having a little comfort food within reason is totally fine.
Although my week vacation may not have been the healthiest, I was mindful of my eating as much as I could be and it can be the same with you.
So when it comes to you going on vacation and you are worried about how to enjoy without going overboard, here are some helpful strategies that I did which I hope you will consider too the next time you need to enjoy yourself.
Continue with your usual routine of exercise (muscle conditioning and cardio)
If your hotel has a gym, take advantage of using this perk. If no gym is available, do a routine in your hotel room using a fitness free app such as "Fiton" or your favorite Youtube videos.
Also explore on your own your vacation spot by doing plenty of walking. My culinary tour was a walking food tour so I had the advantage of built in exercise for this particular day.
Drink Plenty of Water
I know you've heard it before but its worth mentioning as a reminder. Sometimes we are more thirsty than hungry. Be sure to stay hydrated as it can help with bloating from foods you may consuming higher in sodium.
In addition, if you are drinking alcoholic beverages make sure to have a glass in between drinks to keep from getting dehydrated.
Make some of your meals lighter if you are going out for most dinners
My healthy daily routine is a breakfast protein shake which I eat as a meal replacement. By doing this, I am less hungry and eat less at other meals. (I bought a portable mini blender so I would have no excuses.) Whatever your healthy meals may be, try to plan them simply where it helps you to eat less during the day.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as much as possible
We know whole foods will always shine when it comes to appetite control. Having a simple salad or eating a piece of fruit between meals helps to curb hunger and cravings.
As you can see, its ok to take a pause from healthy eating while on vacation. Your mindset wont go totally away while you give yourself a much needed break.
Once you are back into the swing of things of your normal routine, you'll discover you had wonderful experiences and you'll be back to eating the nutritious foods you love to fuel your body.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator